Foster grandparent volunteers honored for service to schools, communities

Hadas Kuznits
November 08, 2018 - 4:02 pm
foster grandparents

Hadas Kuznits | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Volunteers of Philadelphia's public school foster grandparent program were recognized Thursday afternoon. 

Over 100 seniors were celebrated with lunch on the Moshulu for the volunteer work they do in Philadelphia's public schools. 

"It's a program where we match low-income volunteers, 55 years old and older, and the classrooms, to help the children individually," said Linda Lane, foster grandparent program coordinator. "The children look at the grandmoms as real grandmoms."

Lane says both the grandparents and the kids benefit from the program:

"A lot of our children now don't have real grandmoms, at least grandmoms where we think of grandmoms as being 60 and older or 65 and older," she said. "A lot of the grandparents are younger now. So when that older person comes into the classroom and treats them like grandchildren, they open up more to them. Sometimes they share a little bit too much with them."

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Linda Hudson-Jones is one of the volunteers. She says when the kids feel loved, behavior and grades improve. And she says she loves the attention she gets from the children.

"The want to be touched. They want to be hugged," she said. "A little boy came over and hugged me and kissed me and said, 'Mmmmm! She smells good, too!'"

Grandma Linda says it's the best job she's ever had.

"I assist the teacher and I give love and I tie shoestrings," she said. "Sometimes I think they knot them just for you to give them that attention!"

And she says it's not just the kids who benefit from having a foster grandparent.

"The only thing is that we don't take them home," she said, "but they take us home in their heart and we take them home in our heart."